Building Bridges between Local Governments and the Scientific Community to Promote Human Rights

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From 1-9 February 2021, the online Academy and Conference “Human Rights Go Local – What Works: Field-proven Research Methods on Human Rights” took place. It was the first in an upcoming event series seeking to mobilise knowledge, moderate exchange, and build bridges between all governance levels, disciplines, and regions. The Academy and Conference brought together human rights experts from local governments, international and regional organisations and the research community to exchange innovative approaches and proven practices for making cities and human settlements safe, resilient, and sustainable following a human rights-based approach.

You can rewatch the Conference here:
English version

The video is also available in German and French.

During five intensive Academy days, over 40 experts from all over the globe met at eye level in 10 interactive workshops to share proven research methods on human rights at the local level. The practices, findings and proposals were synthesised into the Outcome Document “Building Bridges between Local Governments and the Scientific Community to Promote Human Rights“. This tangible output of the event comprises fourteen encouragements to local governments worldwide on how to reinforce their policies through evidence based on human rights research. The encouragements underline the benefits of research on human rights at the local level and the use of human rights indicators, point at the synergies between human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals, and stress the importance for local governments to exchange and cooperate with local, national, regional and international stakeholders including researchers. 100% of Academy participants who gave feedback stated that they found the exchange with stakeholders fruitful and equally, 100% declared they will use the knowledge discussed in their daily work. This positive feedback indicates the high transferability of discussed practices and highlights the necessity for exchange and mutual action.

The Outcome Document was presented on 9 February at the Conference on Human Rights at the Local and Regional Levels organized in the context of celebrating the 20th anniversary of Graz (Austria) as Europe’s first Human Rights City, as well as officially opening the International Centre for the Promotion of Human Rights at the Local and Regional Levels – the first UNESCO Category II Centre of its kind. High level politicians, policy-makers and human rights experts gathered online with 200 international guests to lay the groundwork for the future of implementing human rights at the local level.

Gabriela Ramos (Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences of UNESCO), Nada Al-Nashif (United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights), and Michael O’Flaherty (Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights) discussed the Outcome Document with Siegfried Nagl (Mayor of Graz) and Gerd Oberleitner (UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Human Security at the University of Graz) the Outcome Document as a basis for local authorities’ commitment to the further implementation of human rights under the moderation of Morten Kjærum (Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Sweden).

All organizers see the achieved results of the Academy and the Conference as a crucial milestone in the attainment of the United Nation’s vision of realising human rights for all.

Here is downloadable material on the Academy and Conference 2021:

The International Centre’s compiled best practices for human rights-based research at the local level can be found in the second edition of the publication series “Human Rights Go Local”.